Opinions & Editorials

The misread pontiff America misuses Pope Francis’s rhetoric

By: Patrick O’Neil

Unless it has slipped your watchful eye, you know that Pope Francis will be taking his first visit to the U.S. on Sept. 22. On the trip, his holiness will be visiting three of the arguably most American cities in the Union — New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. — and will be speaking in front of both houses of congress and the United Nations.

Pope Francis has been one of the most outspoken popes in history and has become involved with international politics at an unprecedented level. With this being said, it raises the question of whether or not a religious figure, such as the pope, should get involved in American politics.

In the past the pope has commented on poverty in America, climate change and most recently the Iran deal. What he will say in his addresses is largely unknown at this point, but history shows that his views have tended to lean left. Previously he has spoken in favor of gun control, welfare and efforts to slow climate change, while at the same time denouncing abortion.

One thing that is known about this Jesuit pope is that he will speak his mind and will speak from the Catholic values that have been instilled in him over the last 78 years of life. My fear is not what the pope will say, nor is it that his visit will be some sort of attack on the separation of church and state, no, my fear is of Americans —media outlets, politicians and the general public.

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Patrick O’ Neil is a freshman Political Science major from Greenwood, Ind.

The pope will speak from the heart, that’s a given. What he will say will generally promote good. Something tells me that the cable news pundits will not feel the same way. The right will grab their pitch forks, arguing that the pope is being used as a political tool for the left. The left will grab their torches, claiming that the pope is trying to indoctrinate U.S. politics. All of this hubbub, which is bound to occur, will only cloud whatever message the pope is trying to send. Politicians will use the pope’s words to further their political agendas and his holy remarks vindication of their views. The pope’s words and message will be morphed into someone else’s agenda and used for political gain.

Republicans will use his stance on abortion to further their social views. Democrats will seize his views on social welfare to strengthen their own assertions. Sound bites and quotes, all of which will inevitably be taken out of context, will be their political anthem as they frequent Sunday morning news programs to debate and discuss the pontiff ’s visit.

Because of the above mentioned antics, the American people will lose sight of the pope’s message. They will overlook what he’s actually saying and will interpret his visit as a stunt. This is what worries me. The culmination of social media and television has the power to taint well intended acts, yet because it’s entertaining we continue to mindlessly consume it without question.

Cable news stations proffer whatever radical ideas their viewers want to hear with the sole intent of improved ratings. With this kind of blatant ignorance, it is almost a given that folks like Bill O’Reilly will take full advantage of the pope’s visit to skew the reality of actuality with no purpose other than to increase views.